While Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa is due to deliver the traditional “opposite-party” rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, a few of Biden’s fellow Democrats plan to offer responses to his remarks as well — and it’s causing some friction within the president’s ranks.
Progressive Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is scheduled to give a response on behalf of the Working Families Party. The party tweeted that Tlaib “will lay out our progressive vision, support President Biden’s agenda and urge Democrats to deliver big, & rally progressives to go all-in on the midterms.”
It’s not the first time that a Democratic lawmaker aligned with the Working Families Party has given such a speech, as Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York spoke last year after Biden’s SOTU-style address to a joint session of Congress.
But this year, there are more Democrats who want to speak up.
Separate from Tlaib’s remarks, Democratic Rep. Colin Allred of Texas is slated to offer a response for the Congressional Black Caucus.
Meanwhile, moderate Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey is due to give his “perspective” immediately following the State of the Union, as he participates in an event hosted by the “No Labels,” a nonpartisan group whose stated goal is to “break the gridlock and dysfunction.”
Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsyvlania is also scheduled to take part in the No Labels event. Gottheimer and Fitzpatrick are co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of lawmakers that aims to encourage bipartisan cooperation.
Gottheimer has criticized Tlaib’s plan to offer a response, saying she’s being “massively counterproductive.”
“It’s like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” the New Jersey congressman said in an interview with Axios.
Other moderate Democrats have questioned Tlaib’s decision as well, with Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia tweeting the following:
Tlaib’s allies have come to her defense and blasted Gottheimer’s plan to speak with a GOP lawmaker after Biden’s remarks.
“So if Rashida doing a response is keying your own car, Josh doing a response with a Republican who opposes Biden’s agenda is… what…?” tweeted Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
“Progressives have been stronger defenders of @POTUS and his agenda than Josh and his conservative friends. I know who I’ll be watching,” added Omar, who along with Tlaib and influential Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is part of a liberal group of Democratic lawmakers known as “The Squad.”